Norma and Ed seem to have finally found their happy ending. Nadine, still riding a high from Dr. Amp’s vlog, marches to Big Ed’s gas farm, golden sh-t shovel in hand, and releases Ed from their marriage. She claims to be “better” now. She only wants Ed to be happy. And then, to the sounds of Otis Redding wailing “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” Ed goes to the Double R Diner to take Norma into his arms. Momentary jeopardy arises when Norma must first dispense with Walter and his diner franchise plans. But while he waits, Ed sits down with a cup of coffee to meditate, to will his happiness into being. And that transcendental stuff must work wonders because Norma’s hand soon appears on Ed’s shoulder (the anticipation was lovely agony). They agree to wed. Shelly cries. Will their love last this time? Will Nadine wake up 18 again or change her mind? I hope not. The music and those lovely shots of the sky seemed to promise forever.
But let’s get on with the recap of Twin Peaks, Part 15:
IN LAS VEGAS | The Las Vegas FBI have brought the wrong Jones family in for questioning. Chantal kills Duncan Todd and his assistant Roger. Wow! Goodbye Patrick Fischler! You were literally sitting down on the job for the entire season! Then Chantal and Hutch eat junk food and talk extra ketchup, the legality of murder and Mars. Janey-E serves Dougie some cake and kisses him: all their dreams are coming true. Dougie rearranges the salt and pepper to look like Twin Peaks, then randomly turns the TV on: why it’s Sunset Boulevard, the very film from which Gordon Cole’s character takes his name (Gordon Cole is an underling at Paramount Studios in Sunset Boulevard. And his name was created by taking the name of two actual streets just outside Paramount Studios. How very meta and “inside Hollywood.”) And then Dougie hears Cecil B. DeMille say the name “Gordon Cole” in the film. It’s mind-bending (for him and us). And Dougie finally seems to be waking up. But instead, he sticks his fork into an electrical socket which he is mysteriously drawn to, and electrocutes himself. The explosion terrifies Janey-E and Sonny Jim (has anyone noticed before now that Dougie’s son is named Sonny JIM JONES? As in Kool-Aid cult leader Jim Jones? Also, remember when I was talking about Charlie and Audrey back in Part 12 being like the warring couple in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Well, do you know the name of the fictional child in that play/movie? It’s Sonny Jim. Your head should be spinning). In any event, I think Dougie might snap back to being Good Coop next week. Or at least he’ll be on his way after a good dose of alternating current. (Interesting that Dougie appeared in Part 3 and likely got killed in Part 15. And Cooper’s room number was 315. And the magical socket in the purple room that sucked Cooper in said 3, then 15. Interesting indeed.)
ABOVE THE CONVENIENCE STORE | I’m pretty sure this took place somewhere in Montana, where we last saw Evil Coop and Richard. But it could be anywhere, as it seems the gas station/convenience store from Part 8 (where all the evil Woodsmen were congregating) can appear or disappear wherever or whenever it wants. Like a magic portal. You should remember that Ray told Evil Coop in Part 13 that Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) could be found at “The Dutchman’s, but it’s not a real place.” So I guess that’s where we were in this scene. You should also remember that Jeffries told us in Fire Walk With Me that the lodge spirits meet above a convenience store. So Evil Coop goes up the stairway to nowhere, then finds himself in a dark and scary room with floral wallpaper. If you didn’t shriek “OH MY GOD!” at the sight of that wallpaper, then you aren’t remembering Laura’s dream from Fire Walk With Me, where she went through the picture on her wall and ended up in this exact same room (I’m not going to try and convince you that this wallpaper is the very same wallpaper they had at One Eyed Jacks. That theory is only for the hardest of hard core nerds).
When the Woodsman throws a switch and causes an electrical burst (like the one Dougie created) we also see the “Jumping Man” from Fire Walk With Me very briefly. He’s the African-American man in the red suit and white mask with a pointy nose. Very scary. Watch his moment again from Part 15 on slo-mo. Advance frame by frame and you’ll suddenly see Sarah Palmer’s face imposed over the mask. What does it mean? I have no idea. Evil Coop walks up the staircase (that Gordon had a vision of in Part 11) and then finally walks out into the parking lot of the Red Diamond Motel. Why is this significant? Because this is the motel where Teresa Banks met up with Leland Palmer, and where they almost had a fourway with his daughter Laura and her friend Ronette Pulaski. A strange woman (played I think by male actor Malachy Sreenan) lets Evil Coop into a darkened room (which is suspiciously similar to the purple room in Part 3 where we met Naido). A wall disappears and we see another of those giant bell shapes, which either is or is hiding Phillip Jeffries. Evil Coop wants to know who Judy is. Judy is a source much speculation and angst for Twin Peaks fans. Her name was whispered by the monkey in the mask in Fire Walk With Me. So this moment was very gratifying for people like me who have also been yelling “Who is Judy??” for all these years. Jeffries tells Coop he has already met Judy, then gives him some coordinates (presumably Twin Peaks, Washington, where he can find her).
Evil Coop is booted from this scary room by a phone call (it was very The Matrix) and then confronted by a gun wielding Richard Horne. Richard tells us what we’ve all suspected all along: his mother is Audrey Horne. And now Richard is going to kill (who he thinks is) FBI Agent Dale Cooper. But instead, Evil Coop knocks him down and loads him into the truck. Looks like that “No Richard, I am your father” talk is going to take place on the way back to Twin Peaks.
IN TWIN PEAKS | James picks the wrong moment to say hello to Renee in the Roadhouse. Her husband Chuck starts a fight. You should remember that Audrey told us that Chuck was “certifiable” and that Audrey’s husband Charlie told us that Chuck stole Billy’s truck. Freddie uses his magic green-gloved-hand to knock out both Chuck and his friend Skipper. They are both seriously injured. And the cops put James and Freddie in jail. There’s something poetic about Bobby putting James into a jail cell, so many years after they were locked up across from each other, back when Bobby was barking at James. Is some mysterious force putting all these people in jail together? Are James and Freddie meant to protect Naido? She’s still making curious noises and arm motions in her cell (is she the evolution of the monkey from Fire Walk With Me?). And the drunk guy is still repeating everything anyone says. He is likely the Billy we’ve heard so much about: he is bleeding from his nose and mouth just like Audrey and Megan told us. (Megan is the random woman and sweater thief from the “Frank” booth last week in Part 14.)
Tragically, the Log Lady died. She had a long talk with Hawk first, in which she told him her log was turning to gold. It was all terribly sad, especially because this was actress Catherine Coulson’s last appearance on film before she died. The Log Lady also warned Hawk to watch out for the “one under the moon on Blue Pine Mountain.” Hawk’s old map tells us that the being in that place will be the weird creature from Evil Coop’s playing card, the same being who vomited up the evil egg fog (if you are reading this and have never seen Twin Peaks, just trust that I am not insane and making up crazy sentences). Meanwhile, Audrey is still trying to get out of the house. It seems that Charlie is calling her bluff, putting on his jacket and going to the door knowing full well that she will never exit, that her mental condition won’t allow it. Then she attacked Charlie (and I was expecting nurses, orderlies and doctors to appear and restrain her). I look forward to the conclusion of this frustrating storyline’s mystery. (Have you noticed that all the props, sets, and costumes in these scenes are vintage? That there’s nothing modern in Audrey’s world? That Charlie has a rotary phone? Is Audrey in the 1940’s?)
Finally, Steven and Gersten (the wayward) Hayward are in the woods, with a gun, high as kites, and out of their minds with grief. They mutter softly to each other about “the rhinoceros” and sex and how either Becky or Steven did some terrible thing. (I could barely hear what they were saying and had to watch the scene again with the closed-captioning on.) Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost (making a welcome return as his original character TV reporter Cyril Pons) happens by with his dog, and then reports back to Carl Rodd that one of his tenants is up to something bad in the woods. My fear is that Steven killed his wife Becky, and then later killed himself in the woods. It is going to be really, really awful if Carl finds Becky’s body in that trailer next week. At least Gersten finds some solace looking up into the trees, wide eyed and placid, just like Becky back in Steven’s car in Part 5. Two tragic girls, staring up at the sky, involved with the worst of dudes. Where is Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) when her sister is in trouble???
BONUS POINTS | It is curious that Norma says she wants to sell her shares in the diner franchise for “family reasons.” Any good Twin Peaks fan was on the edge of her seat when Norma said that, because we’ve been waiting all season (and for 26 long years) to hear the answer to the million dollar question: HOW’S ANNIE? Annie was Norma’s sister, the failed nun. She got messed up in the Red Room with Cooper in the original series finale, and no one has any idea whatever happened to her. For a moment, I thought Norma was going to say she had to take care of her long-ailing sister. But then Walter said “You told me you didn’t have any family.” Norma smiled and said “No, I have a wonderful family. And I want to take care of them.” It seems like Norma is talking about Shelly, and Becky, Toad, and Ed, and all of her customers. They are Norma’s family. Norma is the ultimate mother to the whole town of Twin Peaks. But then, what about her sister Annie? If Norma told Walter she had no family, then Annie must be dead, right? Or never existed? Strangely, Annie was totally scrubbed out of Norma’s history in Mark Frost’s book The Secret History Of Twin Peaks. In the book, Norma has no sister, and has a totally different family than the one we saw in Season 2 of the original Twin Peaks. But we know that Annie exists in the world of Twin Peaks: The Return because Hawk found Laura’s diary pages, and they recounted Laura’s supernatural meeting with Annie in her own bed. Annie does exist in this world. She played an important part in solving the mystery of the two Coopers. But maybe she’s not Norma’s sister anymore?
Cooper was originally meant to end up with Audrey, until Lara Flynn Boyle (Kyle MacLachlan’s girlfriend at the time) complained about all the attention that Sherilyn Fenn was getting. This led to the addition of Annie as Cooper’s love interest. She was supposed to be more age appropriate. Audrey was a high school girl, after all. So maybe Frost and Lynch didn’t like Heather Graham? Or didn’t like that whole storyline? And maybe they’ve decided to scrap it all and start over? All I know is, they had better give us some hard, cold, factual answers about Annie. And soon. I’m not waiting another 26 years. But I will wait one more week, for Part 16. (–Written by M.T. Wentz)